What makes you click?

By APSIS

2010-05-27

These are a few of the most commonly asked questions people ask us at Apsis. Here are our suggestions on what you can do to increase the click-through rate in your messages
 

Activate the reader in the preview window

In our experience, few people double-click on a newsletter to read it on fullscreen. Generally, we prefer to read our email in the preview window of our e-mail programs. You should design your message so that it looks good there – put the important information on top and do not make your readers scroll sideways. We are quite comfortable with upwards and downwards scrolling, but not sideways. Your message should not be wider than 600 pixels.

The link texts should be placed to the right, where we find a higher level of activity. We believe the reason for this is the fact that most people use their right hand to move the cursor.

Let your logo and contact information be accessible, but keep a low profile. The readers should see what is important as quickly as possible, preferably in the preview window.

Polls increase the level of activity in our own newsletter. The reader may submit an answer to a question and see what other readers have responded. They learn something by contributing themselves.

Whenever we send Christmas cards or Valentines Day cards that the reader can forward, the activity increases in the entire letter. Conclusion: activate your subscribers!

The design

Recognizing the sender is an important factor when we decide whether to open a letter or not. You should let the receiver recognize the layout and your organization’s graphic profile. We have all seen innumerable examples where a lot of time and resources are spent on web sites, brochures and direct marketing. E-mail marketing is equally important. Make sure the layout is pleasing to the eye – it will make wonders for your click-through rate.

It is important to “keep it simple” when you send e-mail to your customers. When we visit a web site to search for information, we choose to be active. We are able to handle a lot of information and a variety of designs when we seek something actively. But a letter in the inbox should be more careful in its approach. Present the information clearly, so that the reader understands your intentions. Do not give away everything in the letter – serve an appetizer that encourages further clicks to read the entire article. Think of your letter as a table of contents. The purpose of pictures is to strengthen the text. Remember to test your letter in different e-mail clients.

Headlines

A headline helps the subscriber to determine whether the article is worth reading. At Apsis, we have summarized our five latest newsletters and we have seen that there is a dramatic difference in click-rate when the headline is personal in nature. In one of our letters, we had the headline “How good is your transactional e-mail, anyway?” We think that some of our readers did not understand the headline – but they were intrigued. “I should probably know more about this”, many people thought. In our latest newsletter, one of our headlines was “Do you test?” It was placed at the bottom of the letter, but still had an unusually high click rate. Avoid placing headlines within a picture, since many e-mail clients block pictures.

In the future, we will evaluate our headlines even more and we will try to have short, soulful headlines that encourage the reader to click.

Conclusion

• Make sure your letter “fits” in the preview window of the email client. Is it reader-friendly?

• Encourage your readers to click or to be active in the letter – polls are quite effective.
• Make sure your subscribers recognize your letters. Let the layout reflect your company’s graphic design.

• Write headlines that are interesting and show what the text is about – preferably focused on what the reader might benefit from reading the article.

In short, think about your own behaviour. Obviously, there are newsletters that you like a lot. What is it you like about them? Use that in your own letters! If you like it, odds are that many others will like it too.

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